I often see people asking whether they should book tours before arriving to Phuket or on arrival at Phuket at the street vendors. Whenever someone posts something like this the local community has different thoughts, ideas and advice to the person writing the post.
After 11 years here booking tours myself, being part of a tour company and also running a private boat marine business my advice is a little conflicted. If you plan to do a group tour, then generally you will find it best to book once you arrive in Phuket as you can compare prices at different agents.
The only exception to that is if you wish to book one of the premium tour providers like Phuket Sail Tours or Simba Tours. These companies generally book out well ahead of time and as such it’s best to at least reserve a spot prior to arriving.
So if you plan to book a group tour that sits in the “general” category and not in the small group or VIP tour category then I would strongly recommend to you that you should research before you arrive and then book on the ground.
But if you are booking with a popular tour provider in the VIP or Small Group category then I would suggest that you reserve. Then when it comes to Private Boats you should also reserve the boat if you wish to go with a reputable private boat provider.
For example here at 5 Star Marine we pre-sell more than 75% of our month weeks or months in advance as we are a popular and reputable provider. If you land in and try to secure a private boat you may not get the date you want, the price you want or even the boat you want.
If you’d like more advice feel free to contact us.